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Weekends With Alex Witt

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U.s. 37, Libya 28, Florida 15, Romney 14, Benghazi 11, United States 9, Obama 8, America 8, Us 8, Nakoula 7, Islam 7, Washington 7, Virginia 7, Nato 6, Egypt 6, Alex Witt 5, Paul Ryan 5, Afghanistan 5, Chicago 5, Nbc 4,
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  MSNBC    Weekends With Alex Witt    News  News/Business.  
   Live news coverage. New.  

    September 15, 2012
    12:00 - 2:00pm EDT  

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hello, everyone. it's high noon here in the east. 9:00 a.m. out west. right now vice-presidential candidate paul ryan speaking in florida. let's listen to what he's saying. >> choosing what kind of country do we want to be and what kind of people do we want to be? the basic question is, do we want four more years of the same? >> no. >> do we want to go down the path of debt, doubt and decline that president obama has placed us on? >> no. >> or do we want to snap out of this, get things right and get this country back on track by electing mitt romney the next
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president of the united states? [ cheers ] >> the problem with president obama and lots of politicians like him in washington are that they're more concerned about their next election than they are about the next generation. we are not going to make that mistake. we will lead. because what mitt and i are asking you is, help us get this country back on the right track. we want to earn your votes and deserve this victory so that we have the mandate and the moral authority to get this country back on the right track. [ cheers ] >> now, to be fair, president obama came in in some pretty tough times. no two ways about that.
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he inherited a difficult situation. but here's the problem. he didn't make things any better. he's made things worse! he's run out of ideas. and that is why -- no, he had high des. let me correct you there. he had a lot of ideas and he got most of his ideas in place and that's the problem. you see -- >> there you see the gop vice presidential candidate there paul ryan stumping on the campaign trail in the all-important state of florida, the state that has been designated as a must win for mitt romney. let's go right now to nbc's ron mott. he's there in florida. hello to you. let's talk about the tenner he of the crowd and what he is saying here. >> reporter: pretty hot down here in florida. paul ryan picking up from the
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values summit in washington, d.c. he hammered president obama very hard on foreign policy, domestic policy, just about anything you could name. after honoring those four americans who were killed whose remains were returned to the united states yesterday he quickly got into the meat of his stump speech which is all about trying to get voters out to say that you want change. and this crowd obviously eating that up saying yes, in fact they do. but they've got some issues here, the romney ticket in florida. latest "wall street journal" news poll show the governor falling behind the 50%. romney at 43%. that's a 7-point gap with a little more than seven weeks to go in this race. they know they've got to do a lot of work here in florida, also in virginia, also in ohio. so we expect that those three states with figure prominently on the campaign schedule going forward for paul ryan and mitt romney. >> ron mott, thanks very much keeping an eye on things for us in florida. we appreciate that. let's go to our other big story. we have new developments over the film that sparked outrage around the world.
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one of the member behind that video, nakoula was taken in for questioning this morning. authorities want to know if he violated probation. and cleanup from the riots tahrir square. a 35-year-old man died from bird shot wounds overnight. meanwhile the protests have now spread beyond the middle east and north africa. in sidney, australia, hundreds of protesters clashed with police outside a building outside the u.s. consulate. but perhaps the most dramatic and compelling developments of the day come from libya where the u.s. government is making a big push to solve the murder of four americans, including the u.s. ambassador to libya. our nbc reporter is in benghazi as police close in on the consulate attackers. >> reporter: a team of fbi investigators has arrived here in benghazi. they're gogt to now begin sifting through the rebel and ashes at the u.s. consulate to
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identify any clues or evidence that may help them in identifying who is behind the attack that killed the u.s. ambassador and three other americans. we also understand that the libyan government for their part is cooperating with the u.s. intelligence agencies and other agencies involved in the investigation. the libyan government believes that this was a preplanned attack, that this was not a spontaneous outburst of violence as some have suggested. so far they have four individuals in their custody. they say several more are under surveillance. they are trying to see whether these individuals have any important information that can benefit the american investigation. meanwhile, u.s. intelligence assets including unmanned aerial drones are keeping an eye above the skies of benghazi and eavesdropping on the people below to see if there's any communication that could also shed some light onto tuesday's attack. there's no doubt that both governments have vowed to cooperate in trying to bring the perpetrators of this attack to justice as quickly as possible. >> all right, ayman, thank yu
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very much. from libya to afghanistan now. a deadly assault last night on the base where britain's prince harry is stationed. two u.s. marines were killed. more were injured. this is amateur video you'll see here reportedly from the taliban who are claiming responsibility for the violence. official say prince harry was not harmed nor they claim was he in any real danger. atia abawi is in libya. >> reporter: what we do know is that it began at 10:00 last night when around 20 insurgents according to nato were able to breach the perimeter of camp bastion which also contains camp leather neck, a u.s. marine base down there. this base holds around 10,000 both american, british and danish troops down there. it's one of the biggest nato bases in the country for that matter. the insurgents were about apparently able to breach the perimeter with small arms and indirect fire. we also hear there were suicide bombers among that group.
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they were able to damage buildings as well as aircrafts. and according to the taliban, they say the reason they attacked camp bastion was because a it's one of the biggest nato bases in the country, b, in response to this anti-islamic movie that has caused outrage throughout the entire muslim world, and c, because prince harry is at camp bastion. they made a promise when he arrived they would attack and their first priority they said was to kidnap him. if they couldn't do that they said that they would kill him. >> so atia,those that are taking responsibility, is it confirmed that the taliban was behind this attack or is there just a chance that they're marriaging good on others trying to go after prince harry or just americans or nato troops in general? >> reporter: well, nato for that matter, they're always going to call them insurgents. they'll never really say it was the taliban. but from the taliban's point of view, they've already sent out three statements claiming responsibility, giving detailed statements as to what happened. and on their twitter page, yes, they have a twitter page,
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they've been tweeting pictures of the attack, alleged pictures of the attack, and a two-minute video they say was taken by their men. but from people who can understand the language it seems it was eyewitnesses who took that video and may have passed it along with the taliban or could have been taliban supporters that live on that base. >> the taliban has a twitter page. i'll tell you, that's incredible. nbc's atia abawi, thank you very much. back here in the states, chicago teachers will rally today as they hope to end a week-long strike with a new contract. the two sides have what's being called a freight work for a fair agreement after five days of picketing and negotiations. but union leaders warn that the walkout is not over until they see the final offer in writing sometime today. chicago teachers strike is the first in 25 years. it is time now for a check of the weekend weather. we're going to give you a live look outside here in new york city with just a perfectly gorgeous day on tap there. nbc meteorologist dillon drier
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is absolutely responsible for that and she is here with the forecast. >> good afternoon. i'll take credit for it. we are going to see crystal clear blue skies all across the northeast. we have some extremes across the country especially the southwest where temperatures will be well above 100 degrees. it's hard to believe that right now, considering it is a little cooler out that way. and even up into say billings, montana where it's about 59 degrees right now it is going to top out today with highs well into the 80s. we are going to focus on that area because you're going to see a drastic change in temperature between today's 80s and tomorrow's highs in the 60s. we're focusing a lot on the rain also across areas into kansas city, missouri, st. louis is going to see some of those heavier showers. also across western texas. we do have some heavier pockets of rain. all week long we've been tracking this cold front slowly trekking across the country. it has cleared out across the northeast. that's why it is so much cooler and more comfortable. but we are going to see some of that rain continue to push
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eastward. we do have temperatures expected in the 100s today across the places like l.a. but it should drop back down into the 80s as we head into tomorrow. so some relief is in sight, alex. >> okay, dylan, i'm happy to say you're going to be a fix fur tu msnbc. west coast headlines are next with mitt romney's budget plan and what it may mean for many americans who don't consider themselves rich. also front page politics in the fight for undecideded voters. do we expect any change by november. my name is adam frucci and i'm the editor of splitsider.com.
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i love new technology, so when i heard that american express and twitter were teaming up, i was pretty interested. turns out you just sync your american express card securely to your twitter account, tweet specific hashtags, and you'll get offers on things you love. this totally changes the way i think about membership. saving money on the things you want. to me, that's the membership effect. nice boots!
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oh, hey alex. just picking up some, brochures, posters copies of my acceptance speech. great! it's always good to have a backup plan, in case i get hit by a meteor. wow, your hair looks great. didn't realize they did photoshop here. hey, good call on those mugs. can't let 'em see what you're drinking. you know, i'm glad we're both running a nice, clean race. no need to get nasty. here's your "honk if you had an affair with taylor" yard sign. looks good. [ male announcer ] fedex office. now save 50% on banners.
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head lieps making news on the west coast. the "san francisco chronicle" has a front page story with the title "home sales jump to six-year high." the paper reports sales in the bay area were up 14.2% from a year ago in medford, oregon "the mail tribune" has an article on jobs wanted. it's about how more than 800 people have applied at a new trader joe's. the store is hiring 50 people mostly for part-time positions. a new r.e.i. store in the same area brought in about 1,000 applications for the same number of jobs. "los angeles times" has a story with the title mitt romney plan ups taxes on many. the report says the governor's budget plan would significantly raisin come tax for families making between 100,000 and $200,000. the analysis found romney's plan could work but it would require eliminating the deductions for mortgage interest, charitable contribution and state and local taxes. both sides in the presidential campaign trying to calibrate their messages on the unrest that has spread now beyond the middle east.
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for more on that and some new polls i'm joined by washington bureau chief for "usa today" susan page and editor in chief of -- reid wilson. >> susan, i'll begin with you. how are these protests and attacks playing out politically for both the president and mitt romney? >> i think they've got the potential to be pretty troublesome for both of them. mitt romney's gotten some criticism this week for speaking as the crisis was still unfolding, seeming opportunistic in talk about it. for president obama, there are risks as well as the focus turns to this unrest which is spreading across the middle east and elsewhere. questions about whether u.s. policy toward iran will be enough to stop it from obtaining nuclear capability. these are issues that we haven't heard much about in the campaign so far. and i think risky maybe for both sides. >> well, reid, both the president and governor romney have made some apparent missteps since this whole thing erupted. the president said that egypt is
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not an ally or an enemy. and mitt romney issued that controversial statement before the facts of the benghazi attacks were even in so gauge how much of an impact these issues have had. >> well, this is an impact that i think this has a impact that like susan said is more down side risk than anything else for the candidates. nobody this year given the state of the economy and the state of the domestic debate is going to vote based on foreign policy. however, it's one of those tests that each candidate has to pass to convince voters they're actually presidential, that they could be the president in a crisis, that they could answer that 3:00 a.m. phone call to go back to the democratic primary back in 2008. president obama got to be presidential this week. he got to act like the world statesman who took a little shot at his rival for shooting first and asking questions later. romney, on the other hand, had some serious stumbles. and i think they raised some serious concerns especially among the conservative foreign policy community, who all had
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sort of saw this as a stumble, a moment in which romney showed he might not be ready for primetime. >> i'm sure that the debate that is focused exclusively on foreign policy will give both of them a chance to clear things up and go at it with each other. susan, we'll switch gears now with the new nbc news "wall street journal" marist poll which has come out. the president is leading in florida, ohio and virginia. if you're mitt romney row concerned are you about these polls? >> there are no three states that are smarter to look at when you try to see how the presidential election is going go. president obama carried all three of them. if he could carry two of them this time it makes it very difficult for mitt romney to get a path to 270 electoral votes in the white house. so i think we see already an enormous amount of tension, millions of dollars worth of ads being aired in places like columbus and tampa and norfolk. so at the moment, these states are looking a little better for
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president obama. florida has been a tough one for him. ohio has been surprisingly good for the democrats. these are really i think the states to watch. >> but you know, reid, the obama and romney campaigns are fighting so hard for those undecided voters. but if you look at all three states, bringing up a graphic here, only 2% of likely voters say they might even vote differently than they intend to right now on election day. so can we expect anything to change by november? >> what is an undecided voter? who can be undecide the at the moment when the romney campaign, the obama campaign and all the outside groups have spent more than $100 million combined in ohio, more than $100 million combined in florida, more than $80 million in virginia. i mean, all these states are getting so -- such a huge onslaught of political advertising. and really it's been going since april. who could possibly be undecideded at this moment? obviously somebody who's got a very big capacity on their tivo and a pretty quick fix on that fast forward button. >> susan, can you tell me what's
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going on inside the romney campaign right now? do you think there's any level of panic? >> i think panic is a strong word. but i think there is some concern. i was a little surprised the romney camp is not putting out a spokesman for the sunday shows tomorrow. that would be a point -- a way to kind of get your message out there. these elections, this is now the heart of the election where through the conventions, everybody is paying attention, even voters who are kind of tuned out these voters that have maybe ignored the $100 million of ads in ohio and florida so far. so this is the time to make their case. not over yet by any means. you've got three presidential debates coming up in october. and we know from the past that a very strong performance or very weak one in the debates can change some of the assumptions we're making at this point. >> and given as i was saying earlier the fact that foreign policy is really at a crescendo right now. a lot of stuff going on. do you see the potential for anything dramatic happening, reid, in these debates that could be a swaying factor for
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these few undecided? >> absolutely. the debates are a moment when 20, 30, 40 million people will tune in and watch these candidates answer questions about policy which is not something you get a lot when they're on the stump talking to their own bases. one interesting challenge, president obama, this is the first time in four years where he's going to stand on the stage with an equal. because the president of the united states doesn't often share a stage with somebody who plays by the same rules. he's only going to get 60 seconds to give an answer. this is going to be the moment when a moderator will actually be able to say, i'm sorry, mr. president, your time is over. it always throws a curveball to incumbent presidents. george bush had a tough time with his first debate. bill clinton had a tough time with his first debate with bob dole. we always see this. it will be interesting to see how obama deals with the challenge. >> or the. well, susan page and reid wilson, want to thank you both. by the way, susan, i'm saving my thursday copy of "usa today" because that may be a collector's item ahead of the graphics change on friday. so how much do you think it
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might be worth? >> you should save them every day. every day's "usa today" buy a copy save it. >> i do buy a copy every day. it would be stacking too high on my desk. anyway, thank you very much, susan page and reid wilson. now to number three on our list of top stories trending this hour, more pictures of kate middleton. tmz is report gt editor of the french magazine that ran topless photos of middleton is suggesting she has sex foe owes of the royal couple but has decided not to run them. on friday the royals began legal proceedings against the magazine for publishing the initial pictures. also today a italian gossip magazine vowed to publish more topless photos of the princess. [ male announcer ] with a driving range of more than 550 miles you'll inevitably find yourself on a desolate highway in your jeep grand cherokee.
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tech launch now. surprise surprise, iphone 5 preorders sold out in quite a hurry. yesterday's ordering was so frenzy the apple web site went down occasionally. now anybody wanting one will have to wait until september 28th to receive it. the this sent apple stock to a high, closing at 691. it is time now to take a look at the number ones out there. first escaping the unemployment line and finding a job is no easy task. the worst cities for getting a job, topping the list, spokane, washington where 13% of employers plan to decrease hiring. san diego send worst. st. louis, cleveland and youngstown, ohio rounding out the top five. the housing market may be improving, but in illinois the foreclosure rate is becoming the worst in the country. and how bad?
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realty track says one in 298 housing units in illinois were in the process of foreclosing last month. florida has the second worst foreclosure rate. california's got it third. [ music playing ] well, bruno mars sings about $1 billion but we are talking about billions and billions. the companies with the most cash right now, the web site 24/7 wall street says microsoft is the king of cash with slightly more than $62 billion in cash and short term investments. overall corporate america has seen its cash holdings soar to more than $1.25 trillion. that's not including financial companies. ♪ and take note of the billboard hot 100, that's taylor
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swift who is back on top. and those are your number once. okay, christian, play it up. ♪ and a choice. take tylenol or take aleve, the #1 recommended pain reliever by orthopedic doctors. just two aleve can keep pain away all day. back to the news. a short word that's a tall order. up your game. up the ante. and if you stumble, you get back up. up isn't easy, and we ought to know. we're in the business of up. everyday delta flies a quarter of million people while investing billions improving everything from booking to baggage claim. we're raising the bar on flying and tomorrow we will up it yet again.
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republic of affairs. i'm awfully glad you're here. among the questions that comes to mind, what are the security measures that are taken overseas for diplomats who are in hostile regions? >> it's an essential question. under the viviana convention the security at the consulates is primarily the host nation. they secure the compound from the wall out. then inside a typical embassy you'll have diplomatic security and you'll have marines. this was a u.s. consulate. i don't think there was a marine contingent there. there were diplomatic security there. but alex, it's one of those things where you can never completely eliminate the risk. if we turn embassies and consulates into forts we're unable to conduct the business
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we need to do. chris stevens understood this balance quite well. >> he was a man described as one who would constantly get out there and talk among the people and really threw aside concern for his own safety in his zeal to try to get out there and get to the pulse of what has happening with the people. he was very passionate about that. but p.j., you look at what's happened and of course hindsight is 20/20. but given where this happened could this have been foreseen? >> it's hard to see how it was foreseen. as i see it, there probably was a genuine protest that started, and within that protest came this armed group that was anxious to take advantage of that and storm the embassy. protesters don't normally show up with rpgs, rocket propelled grenades. so clearly they had the ability to overwhelm the security that was there. >> and so this was a planned attack. >> well, there's a long history of this in terms of -- there have been diplomatic posts in benghazi that were attacked
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before. i mean, it does underscore that libya is heading in the right direction, but it's been a challenge for the interim government now an elected government to manage security. i mean, and this is perhaps the difference between an egypt which had a relatively soft landing in terms of its transition, mubarek was pushed from power relatively peacefully, and libya that went through a civil war. libya's awash with weapons. every political faction, every group is heavily armed. and they are challenging the ability of the state to provide security. not just for diplomatic posts but for libyan people as well. it's going to take time for libya to build up its capacity to do what we take for granted in a country like this, for example. >> p.j., there is a report that the u.s. is sending spies and drones to libya to speed up the search for the libyan suspects. will those who actually committed these crimes be caught? >> i mean, the president was very forceful this week in
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saying that will be the goal. justice will be done. i think the drones and other assets that will come into libya will do two things. because we don't know to the extent there was a group here that took advantage of the protest to attack, storm and destroy the consulate. but the question is, was this just a target of opportunity or was this something where support and direction from the outside. and so i think in light of what's happened, the united states working with libya's got to try to find out more about these groups in the eastern part of the country and the threat they pose, not just the united states but more importantly to libya. >> what kind of response from the u.s. does this act, on the highest american official in the country warrant? realistical realistically, p.j., how firm can the u.s. be with libya? >> actually, alex, libya is almost an exception to the rule throughout the rest of the region. there's a graeat deal of
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anti-americanism in the reasonable as a whole. libya is a country that has very significant support for the united states, not the least of which is because the united states' role in the intervention that led to the overthrow of gadhafi last year. so i have great optimism about the long term relationship between libya and the united states but we have to recognize that to get these transitional countries just new to democracy to a point of stability, it's going to take years if not a decade. >> yeah. and p.j., i think it's very important to note that what happened there, the mob-like violent actions, does not reflect the majority of libyan people who came out in protest and said they were grateful for what the u.s. has done and they're trying to put down what happened and say it was wrong. how much will the u.s. depend on libyans to come forward and help in their search for intelligence on this matter? >> well, i think you've already seen a response within libya. because they knew chris stevens,
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he entered libya last february. he was a liaison to the national transition council which was the umbrella organization, the rebel organization that successfully overthrew gadhafi with the u.s. and nato support. they recognize that he had played a significant role in helping to create the new libya. and i think they're genuinely distressed by that. now, elsewhere in the region there is a very high level of anti-americanism as well as distress about this video. and this is just a dynamic that we're going to have to manage going forward. these kinds of incidents tragically will happen again. >> manage very carefully. p.j. crowley, great to talk with you. thanks so much. >> pleasure, alex. meanwhile the fallout from that anti-muslim film continues. we've been asking all of you today, do you blame the filmmaker for the global outbreaks of vile intelligence we'll hear some of your tweets. here are a few. garrett mow says "i despite the content of the film but we
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cannot consider ourselves a free nation if we promote censored expression." bafpet says "yes, it was the kindle that exploded the anti-american feelings in the muslim world." ronald g newton "the film is partly to blame. people's intolerance of moss lems and islam have emboldened extremists. atin 0007 "it was irresponsible and reckless, and free speech -- in today's strategy talk, crisis communications. the u.s. embassy protests and president obama and mitt romney's responses to them have turned the crisis into a hotly debated election issue. joining me now tony fratto, deputy white house press secretary to president bush and -- >> tony, i'll begin with you. it's mitt romney who made some
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factually incorrect statements this week, first in a press release, later on in a q&a. the statement was issued well before the attacks in benghazi from an embassy in an entirely different country. is this not a critical failure for his campaign? >> well, look. i always feel like whether you're on a hill or a candidate and the president is dealing with a foreign policy challenge or crisis you always get a little bit of time. i don't know the romney campaign would have done it the same way had they had the opportunity to do it again. that said, a campaign does not have the infrastructure and process to look at information and deal with information in real time like that. and so you're going to have mistakes. mitt romney doesn't even start his intelligence briefings i think for another week. the president, on the other hand, has all of that infrastructure. and you have a little bit of keystone cops going on with the embassy, state department and
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the president over there. >> tony, you're a communications guy. why would you even get this going in the first place? would you have allowed it to happen? >> like i said, i worked in a white house. and i always felt like we had better information. we always have better information in a white house. and so you would take time. i always felt like give the president some time to deal with what he has to deal with with the information he has. like i said, i would advise romney in any other challenger and including the people on capitol hill, members of congress on capitol hill, to take time, take 24 hours and look at the facts. because you don't have that. so he i don't think the romney campaign would do that again. >> you're telling me the answer is no. kind of like when in doubt don't. just pause. >> take your time. >> right. take your time. karen? >> here's the thing on this. from the accounts that we've seen, what really concerns me is that romney was busy consulting political people and communications people. you're right, tony, he doesn't have the same kind of infrastructure that the president does.
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but he does have a fairly impressive group of people in his foreign policy advisers and homeland security advisers. any one of whom could have said, you know what, we don't know what we don't know here. let's hold out and see how this develops. so it bothers me that his first instinct was, let's go for the jugular. let's go for the political option rather than having the judgment to say, hold up, let's find out what we don't know here. >> we compare that to an entire foreign policy apparatus with national security council, state department and the president himself that were widely off base on their messaging. the em bassembassy with a messa that both the state department and the white house had to disavow within 24 hours. and the president himself, the commander in chief, not sure whether egypt is an ally or not an ally. these are -- anyone can make mistakes. >> to that point let's be very clear. if you're going to cut the president some slack you should really cut the embassy some
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slack. as i understand it, they were actually trying to quell the violence with their initial statement. i would hope that as an american citizen we can all agree that we do disavow any kind of anti- -- any kind of attack on some other kind of religion. >> absolutely. >> clearly that's what they were trying to do. it is my understanding just from what i've read that the state department told them not to do it. they went ahead and did it, anyway. so that's not keystone cops. they were trying to protect the people in their embassy, tony. let's not attack them for that. >> karen, i don't disagree with their motives. i think their motives were really pure. >> they were trying to do the right thing. that is not keystone cops. >> it is keystone cops when on an important matter of foreign policy the state department tells them not to issue the statement and they do issue the statement. that is a breakdown in order in the foreign policy apparatus. and it may have some ramifications. >> karen, can i ask you what you
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brought up or what the president said about egypt, it not being an ally, not being an enemy of the state. so it was suggested early on in my broadcast that the president spoke very honestly in the statement and that some would say that's not necessarily the political correct thing to do but it was an honest statement. weigh in on that. >> a couple of things. number one, i think it was an honest statement. and clearly he was angry. but i think there are a couple of things. this is the thing about foreign policy. it is much more complicated than i think people are trying it make it out to be for political reasons. we know that mmoursi is part of the muslim brotherhood. there is a domestic political division going on there he's being attacked from his far right. so he's trying to balance his own politics. clearly that played into the kind of response we got. i think understanding that is very important because it's in america's interests for moursi to stay where he is and not end up with somebody worse from the farther right. at the same time, the thing that i notice is the president made
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that statement. clearly, though, they paid attention. because as of today the egyptian police and military have actually backed all of the protesters away from the embassy. they've actually aerected a wall to keep the embassy safe. whatever they weren't doing before the the president spoke they're doing it now. we need to look at that as well. >> tony, john mccain is suggesting that mitt romney make a broad foreign policy speech. do you agree with that? think that's a good idea? >> i think he should take the opportunity to talk about his goals and the principles that would guide him as a president in foreign policy. and of course, they will have the opportunity to stand next to each other and debate all of these issues in i think it's the third debate is the foreign policy debate, if that's right. but they're going to have an opportunity to talk about these issues. but we have to remember also that this isn't really where most of the electorate is right now. the electorate is far more focused on economic policy. we had a lot of economic policy
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this week. and that's still by far the number one issue for voters. and i think that's really where most candidates are going to want to spend their time. the president because he's the president may not have that opportunity because of foreign policy challenges. but i think governor romney would be best to spend his time talking about thosish use that voters today care about. >> karen? >> it does remind people, though, that what's happening abroad does have an impact on america. part of the reason we're in the financial hole is because of the wars in afghanistan and iraq. if you're going to sabre rattle about invading iran there'll be a cost at home we'll have to bear. >> thank you for bringing us civil iced discussion. now number four of our first five web stories, fears that the asian carp could reach the great lakes. the fish have infechted the mississippi and illinois rivers. on friday the u.s. army corps of engineers released a report saying that after a study of 18 canals the fish have no easy path to the great lakes.
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now to must see must avoid. first up an indy with top shelf character actors, new movies. take a look. >> i am a writer. a doctor. a nuclear physicist. a medical philosopher. but above all i am a man just like you. >> that's from "the master" a new film that some says takes inspiration from sicientology. must see, must avoid? >> it's a must-see because of the acting. paul thomas anderson directed, joaquin phoenix stars in it, philip seymour hoffman. a week ago alexi was really confused by the script. it's jarring, alarming but the action is so good. it's getting oscar buzz. how about this one?" resident evil"? >> good scare.
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this is a next installment in this series. if you are a fan of these series like my father isra, cult favorite. he escapes from a deadly virus. maybe not. how about a blast from the past?" finding nemo." is this worth another look? >> it's worth another look. it's in 3d. the first one was released nine years ago. disney is releasing films in 3d. they did it with the lie the lion king, by beauty and the beast. the first one won an oscar. we must see this one again. >> thank you very much. now the last of our top stories, trending on the web for you, researchers at ucla found wedding cold feet are a real sign of trouble ahead. scientists say those with uncertainty were less satisfied with their marriages. when there was doubt to saying i do anyway we're 2.5 times more likely divorce. ♪
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in today's office politics, my conversation with larry sabito,we take a look at some of the historical memorabilia he's collected. but first i asked larry about the relevance of presidential debates. >> the early debates made an enormous difference. you can't find an analyst from 1960 who doesn't believe that john f. kennedy needed those debates to get elected. and certainly the first one i think did it for him. that made the 119,000 votes worth of difference in his defeat of richard nixon. the next set of debates weren't until 1976. again i think they made the difference for jimmy carter. because not only could he stand up to president gerald ford, gerald ford made a goof that cost him about ten days in the campaign. they mattered a lot then. we all remember 1980 and the reagan, carter exchange. are you better off today than you were four years ago.
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>> we're hearing that this go around. >> hearing the same thing this time. but an interesting thing happened. the candidates wised up. they moved the debates further back from election day. that's the fail safe for both obama and romney. if their tongues get twisted and they say something they want to take back they have enough time to recover. >> do you get a sense who will perform better in the debates? >> you know, my guess would be president obama. and yet, you think he hasn't debated since 2008. and mitt romney has had over 20 debates just this year. he performed well in some debates and not other, he made real gaffes in some debates. i doubt he will bet president obama $10,000 on anything. but you know, it's funny. the candidates between now and the debates will be telling us how awful they are at debating and how they're sure the other side is so much better. >> lowering expectations. >> you lower expectations for yourself. you raise expectations for your opponent. the tiny tiny number of
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undecided voters -- and i think it's under 5% now -- they are influenced by debates, but they're influenced by lots of other things. and some of them end up not even voting. >> this extraordinary piece of history that you have relative to abraham lincoln's funeral, talk about that. >> it's a ticket to the lincoln funeral in the white house that was held just a few days after lincoln's assassination. there were only 600 of them. and only six have survived. this is the sixth. and it's really incredible when you think about it. this ticket was taken into the white house. you had to have it to get access to the room where lincoln's body was laid there for everyone to participate and see. so it's a little bit of history. what i love is a little wood cutting above from harper's weekly. and it tells you something about the relationship between government and press and people even back then. if you notice right at the head of the beir is mrs. lincoln, except she wasn't there.
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she was too distraught to come downstairs. but what was left of the lincoln administration told harper's weekly as i understand it to put mrs. lincoln right there so the country would believe she was participating in the funeral services. >> you have so much civil war era. i mean, look at this what you have this beautiful bureau. >> yes. this was contributed by a professor and his wife teaching at the university of virginia at the time. people didn't have a whole lot of money in those days. and particularly after the civil war. so they wanted to make a bequest to their university. and they generally gave their best piece of furniture. this housed the treasures of the english department for many years. fortunately, no one stole it. it's easy to break into. >> i also have to ask you about this. because this map that hangs over the mantle here. >> everything is thomas jefferson here. and that was a map created by his father he was a make mac. one of the earliest maps of the virginia area before it was
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fully developed. what's remarkable to me as a native virginian is how many of these names and regions are still exactly the same. virginia admires its past and worships it in some respects. although it's been changing. you may have noticed. >> we have. okay, larry, thank you for that. tomorrow at this time larry is going to talk about his predictions for this year's house and senate races and how third party candidates will affect the presidential election. the investigation into the deadly attacks at the u.s. consulate in libya. why wasn't the compound more secure? [ mrs. hutchison ] friday night has always been all fun and games
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that anti-muslim film. police rounded up hundreds of protesters today and they will send dozens to court. back here in the u.s., federal officials are questioning one of the men behind the film that sparked all the rage. police escorted nakoula ba celery nakoula from his home overnight. they want to know if he violated his probation. mike taibbe is live in los angeles. good day to you. beyond nakoula who are the others involved in this film and do we know their whereabouts? >> we don't know their whereabouts at the moment but we know that nakoula is one of only at least three key figures who are linked at this moment to the making of this video. nakoula himself told associated press he was in charge of logistics. although he's also the person who the day when everything exploded was telling people his name was sam bacile, that he raised the money from jewish donors, all turned out to be untrue. but he certainly had some role.
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he is by a description of people who know him an egyptian-born c koptic christian, ultima conservative. another is joseph nasrala. he was a featured speaker at two of the past three years protests on 9/11 of the so-called ground zero mosque. you can see him there. that's the 2010 rally and protest where he spoke about the dangers of islam, that islam was going to take over this country the same way it took over egypt, the country of his birth as well. nasrala owns the studios where this video was shot and cut the deal for the film permit to have it shot there in the summer of 2011. in addition to joseph masrala, there's also steven kline. kline is an ex-marine and has also been on the watch list of several hate speech groups, monitoring groups. for years he also has a program on that same broadcast operation that masrala runs.
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masrala and steven kline are whereabouts unknown right now. >> and mike, he's being questioned and talk about possible parole violation we've reported. but with regard to his security, might he have to be provided with security? and if so, do you know who would do that security for him? would give that to him? >> one would guess it seems to make sense that the people responsible for this video which has resulted in so much violence around the world right now would have some blow back. steven kline before he left told a local reporter he was leaving town because he had had believable death threats. we don't know of anything directly. but we also heard nakoula himself is not going back to his home into a suburb of los angeles about 25 miles east of the city. we don't know where he's going. but he has a family who are still in the house, have been still in the house at the moment. none of them are talking. none of them have apologized to this point or expressed any
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regret or remorse over what's happened. >> mike taibbi, many thanks for the story from los angeles. in libya, investigators are closing in on the people responsible for the deadly and fiery attack on the u.s. consulate that now appears to have been planned to take place on september 11th, not as a result of the anti-muslim film. nbc's ayman mohedin is in benghazi, libya with the latest. >> reporter: a team of fbi investigators have arrived here in benghazi. they're going to begin sifting through the rubble and ashes at the u.s. consulate to identify any clues or evidence that may help them in identifying who was behind the attack tha killed the u.s. ambassador and three other americans. we also understand the libyan government for their part is cooperating with the u.s. intelligence agencies and other agencies involved in the investigation. the libyan government believes that this was a preplanned attack, that this was not a spontaneous outburst of violence that some have suggested. so far tree they're have four individuals in their custody.
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they say several more are under surveillance. they are trying to see whether these individuals have any important information that can benefit the american investigation. meanwhile, u.s. intelligence assets including unmanned aerial drones are keeping an eye above the skies of benghazi and eavesdropping on the people below to see if there's any communication that could also shed some light onto tuesday's attack. there's no doubt, though, that both governments have vowed to cooperate in trying to bring the perpetrators of this attack to justice as quickly as possible. ayman mohyedin. meanwhile in afghanistan a deadly day for two u.s. marines killed during an insurgent attack at a camp shared by the u.s. and britain. the taliban have claimed responsibility for the violence that camp in southern afghanistan and atia abawi is in kabul. what can you tell us about this attack? we are showing video of prince harry there. incorrect video but he's the one who's there at that base. >> reporter: that is the same base that prince harry is located. he arrived just a little bit
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over a week ago. what we do know about the incident that occurred last night is that it started around 10:00 p.m., about 20 insurgents were able to breach the perimeter of camp bastion that included camp leather neck which is the largest u.s. marine base here in afghanistan. there are around 10,000 american, british, danish and estonian troops along with their afghan partners based there. it's incredible that the taliban were able to breach this base because it's one of the most heavily fortified bases in afghanistan. also one of the largest bases there. the taliban say that the reason that they attacked bastion was primarily because of the anti-islamic film that has been causing outrage primarily all over the muslim world. but also because prince harry also known as captain harry wales here is based here. last week when they found out that prince harry was here they sent out a statement saying they will try to capture him and abduct him as priority number one. if that doesn't work they said they would try to kill him. we don't know if it's completely
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connected but that's at least what the taliban are claiming. alex? >> okay. atia, thanks very much for that update from kabul. we appreciate that. there are new comments today from president obama about the tense situation unfolding in the middle east as well as the deadly attack on the u.s. consulate in libya. >> this tragic attack takes place at a time of turmoil and protest in many different countries. i made it clear that the united states has a profound respect for people of all faiths. we stand for religious freedom. and we reject the denegratoin of any religion includes islam. >> he says he will bring to justice those responsible for the deaths of at the u.s. consulate including the death of ambassador chris stephens. joining me nbc military analyst. colonel, welcome back. on these libya attacks, sir, do we now know that this was essentially a preplanned 9/11-related attack on the u.s.
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consulate that actually had nothing to do with the outrage over the anti-muslim film? >> well, it was clearly a planned attack. you could tell that by the tactics and the weapons that were involved. small arms, automatic weapons, rocket-propelled grenades and infantry tactics. it's likely that the consulate was a target of opportunity and that the mob-related activity there was a good cover for the attack. so tactics demonstrated was planned. but it was probably hastily planned in any case. >> sir, you say a target of opportunity. why wasn't this consulate more secure? should it have been? >> oh, yeah, sure. your guess is as good as mine. i think that the state department has a lot to answer for. this should have been secured. don't forget this is a consulate away from the capital in a country that is just undergone a violent revolution in which we participated, by the way. there's no excuse for the place not being better secured. and the outcome last was
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predicted. it should have been much better secured. >> so then what, though? what kind of a response does the us have here that's appropriate? this is an act of killing the highest american official in the country. i mean, how firm can the u.s. be with libya under these circumstances? >> well, not very. i mean, we can be as firm as we want. but at the end of the day, we're not necessarily going to get what we need. and that is first-class intelligence that identifies who the perpetrators are. now, there's a view that goes something like this. the libyans have arrested -- have said that they can identify about 50 people who participate in the riots. and that in fact they detained four of them. at the end of the day they could very easily say that they've identified who the perpetrators are, and that's the end of it. it's important for libya from their standpoint to curry favor with the united states not only because of our participation in the revolution but also for the money that is liable if not likely to come afterwards. >> are we likely to rely on libya to do all of that
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intelligence work, colonel? or are we sending drones, are we sending spies to gather information ourselves? >> well, we do. we have drones in the air. we can listen to telephone conversations, monitor conversations, and all that. but in the end it's really important that the only thing we're going to get that's really useful is human intelligence. that requires people on the ground, which we have there and we're going to send more of, but it also requires that these people on the ground have contacts inside libya and we don't have that quality of information, human information. intelligence. >> all right, colonel jack jacobs, appreciate it. thanks so much, sir. in light of the attacks on the u.s. embassies and consulates consider. this if those so-called fiscal cliff automatic budget cuts go into effect next year, the "new york times" says, $1.2 billion would be shaved from embassy security and diplomatic programs. lots to consider there. still ahead, it sure looks like members in the house want nothing to do with the fiscal
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cliff until after the election. but will that matter to voters? and you think prince william and princess kate are mad about those topless photos now? well, apparently they haven't seen anything yet. even more risque' pictures could be on the way. we'll talk about it ahead on "weekends with alex witt." ♪ spread a little love today ♪ ♪ spread a little love my way ♪
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two front page politics now. paul ryan is meeting with voters in the battle ground state of florida today. republican nominee for vice-president just wrapped up a rally in olds mar focusing on the economy. >> here is the problem.
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we don't need sugar high economics. we don't need synthetic money creation. we need economic growth! we want wealth creation. we don't want to print money. we want opportunity and growth! >> meantime, the obama camp is hitting back on the economy with a new television ad called "the question." >> the president's plan asks millionaires to pay a little more, to help invest in a strong middle class, clean energy and cut the deficit. mitt romney's plan? a new $250,000 tax break for multimillionaires. roll back regulations on the banks that created the economy and raised takeses on the middle class. >> the ad is airing in several swing states including ohio, virginia and florida. meanwhile on capitol hill, the so-called fiscal cliff approaches. there are some new numbers that reflect how massive the automatic budget cuts could be. if congress does not act before the beginning of the year, most defense programs face a 9.4%
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cut. while most domestic programs face cuts of 8.2%. joining me now, reporter for the "washington post" and national political reporter for the atlantic. thanks for joining me. david, i'll begin with you. as the house plans to wrap up work next week, it's canceled all of its october sessions. obviously going to have to tackle this fiscal cliff, this threat, after the election. so is that going to happen? >> well, time is running out. i think all eyes are on the november 6 election. what president obama has been saying to voters is look, we have these problems facing our country. send a message. re-elect me. he hopes to get sort of a bump from that. i think the other side feels the same way, that the electorate wit sort of tell congress where it stands. you're likely to have a divided congress after the election. the question comes down to will republicans be willing to do what democrats want to do which is essentially raise taxes to help offset some of these costs. if not then question is will the democrats call their bluff and
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let let the defense cuts go through. it's looming -- the time is running low. >> molly, do you think an agreement could be made before the january 2 and deadline? >> as david said it all hinges on the election and congress has pretty much checked out until then. then the question becomes do they respect this deadline or do they look for some kind of stopgap. that's going to depend on who gets elected and what the composition of the next congress is going to be. you're already hearing talk on the hill that if for example mitt romney is elected there may be some kind of stopgap passed so they can wait until after he's inaugurated to do a more long term solution to some of this stuff. what you're not hearing a lot of is a willingness to go over the cliff. there's not a lot of people saying just let the deadline pass and just throw up our hands. but there is a sense of dread. remembering the debt ceiling and the looming government shutdown that almost occurred a year ago that is congress so deadlocked and so sort of immune to even
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the most apocalyptic warnings that they would let something like this happen. >> and david, if these cuts do go into effect, is there going to be an immediate impact on americans? will they feel it in their everyday lives? >> i don't know that ordinary americans necessarily would. if you're in these industries and there's a major budget crunch that's going to affect places like defense and defense contracting. there's going to be job loss, less growth there. overall i think the concern is will this weaken our presence abroader particularly with defense, something that again both sides don't want to see. you're seeing even this week a big discussion about the readiness abroad. i think that's going to be part of the debate. >> let's turn to foreign policy with you both. david, the handling of the events this week in the middle east, the romney camp was criticized for his reaction to the incident in libya. that's been a few days now. give me the take on how governor romney handled it. >> i think from the democrats' side and other republicans such as john mccain are really critical about how quickly governor romney sort of spoke out on this and denounced what
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he called the mixed messages from the embassy and cairo and the white house and the state department. state department tried to quell that. but i think the romney camp has not backed off that. they've doubled down and continued to talk about it. i think going to hold firm on this and continue to try to make an area of weakness. i think there's a lot to be seen what happens really on the ground in libya, in cairo and other places as these protests continue. >> molly, if the unrest in the middle east does not calm itself, if these protests continue, does the white house believe is going to be become a political problem. >> there's absolutely the chance. he's done so well in voters' minds on foreign policy thanks to mostly things like like having killed osama bin laden and pulling out of iraq. i think a lot of that strength for the president comes from a security, feeling like the world is not on fire like it was before. and if we start to see this
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being a longer-term crisis and the president looks likes he's unable to quell it or it's out of hand in some way that could put a serious dent in him politically. >> molly, i want to ask your reaction to just released gallup poll. shows president obama ahead of mitt romney by 4%. do you think there's overconfidence with these polls within the obama campaign? >> the obama campaign has always been a very confident campaign. i think more than anything they're not surprised. they see this as a result of number one a very good convention that they had. but number two, months of ground work that they've done to sort of define mitt romney and set in stone those negative impressions of him that they have tried to penetrate voters' minds with. we're starting to hear a lot of nervousness on the other side, partly from the romney camp but more from just republicans in general. worrying that this is slipping away. that those impressions of romney have been set in stone and he is running out of opportunities to catch up. a lot of looking forward to the debates as a potentially crucial
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chance, possibly the last chance for romney to really make a comeback. >> david, you're sensing no let up from the white house at all? >> not at all. president is going on the road for another five days this week. you've going to keep hearing that message. i think they do feel confident coming out of their convention that they've really been able to galvanize. the crowds have been bigger for the president's message. i think they are feeling good. again things like this week can throw unexpected challenges into whatever message you're trying to get across. >> good to see you both. thanks so much. >> thank you. coming up, the feds' financial lifeline. what's the price and the payoff for our economy? and gimme five. what some iphone fanatics will do to get their hands on the new iphone. brought your stuff. you don't have to do this. yes i do. i want you to keep this. it'd be weird. take care. you too. [ sighs ]
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iphone five worth the wait. joining me now is economic analyst. it's a little lighter than it was when i spoke with you early this morning. >> much warmer, too. >> let's start with the fed. is launched another aggressive stimulus program. punches billions into the economy. why? >> well, basically the fed wants to bring down those borrowing costs. so what they did they bought $600 billion worth of government and mortgage-backed bond. this is the new program, the new stimulus program that's called qe 3. that's waquantatie easing. they want to continue to kind of pump this type of bond buying into the economy to also bring down that unemployment number. they want to kind of -- they're not going to halt this program until unemployment gets to about 7%. . now analysts say that the fed is probably going to spend
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somewhere between 12 billion and around $13 trillion. i'm sorry. 250 billion to $13 trillion. i want to correct that. but that's a lot of money. and while analysts do believe that this could help, some analysts on the other side are saying this is gone to to be an ineffective policy. >> consumer prices now, we saw the highest jump in three years. retail sales rising almost 1%. that's the largest increase since february. so to what do you account all this the rising consumer inflation? >> we've been talking about this a lot during the summer. it really has to do with those gas prices. gas prices have been at the highest since 2009. and that accounted for about 80% of the price hike that we saw in the last month. also, food prices, you remember during last summer there was that drought, soy bean crops were down, corn crops were down. analysts are predicting the price of food is going to even increase as we get closer to december. one thing i should mention with those retail sales, apparel
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sales, the price for apparel actually came down.5%. that might have had something to do with the fact that retail sales were a bit higher. consumers spent more for the month of august. >> got to talk about the new apple iphone five frenzy. what's up with this? why? >> well, you know, apple has these loyal apple lovers. and they said that it was really just pent-up demand. they haven't come out with a new iphone. this new iphone five has the new rhett that display. it's skinnier. it does have a new plug. i'm always looking for a new plug for my phone. i'm always losing mine. that's kind of a disadvantage, i guess. but overall they're really excited about this. and they're expecting to sell about 33 million iphones for this quarter. >> okay. thank you for sharing it. we appreciate that. >> thanks, alex. still ahead, the editor who published those topless photos of kate middleton says she has even racier photos. but will they be published?
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conditions, competition among these groups and the talk in this country, president obama, secretary clinton, the more we talk about religion we are playing into their hands in many ways. that's what they want. >> so what can the united states do to help calm the situation? and does the threat of use of force help at all in a situation like this? >> you have to use a combination of means and tools. persuasion is important, being tough in private conversation with these leaders is very important. that's what the president did in his telephone conversations with mohammed moursi. at the same time don't fall into the trap. it's not the job of the president of the united states to talk about is islam. >> he went on to say he expects more protests to erupt before the situation improves. now the very latest on what we know about the people behind the controversial anti-muslim video that has sparked all these protests throughout the world.
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earlier today nakoula bessly nakoula was taken into custody by federal investigations being investigated for probation violation. there are many questions about this video. joining me is a writer for the "washington post" who has written about this. let's first talk about nakoula bessly nakoula and his involvement in this video. what is it? >> well, nakoula is the apparent producer. and i say apparent because we're not entirely sure. the details are still a bit murky. but all signs point to him. last wednesday he emerged as a figure named sam bacile, which was clearly a pseudonym for him. but he appears to be the person who produced this video. i hesitate to say movie. it's unclear that there actually is a movie. it appears to be just 14 minutes of clips on youtube. >> okay. you've written about the trailer, essentially.
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what is in it in these 14 minutes. >> well, it's a very crudely made series of clips with no real narrative arc to it. that essentially insults the profit muhammad. it goes by several names. "the innocence of muslims" is the name that people seem to have landed upon. but it insults muhammad as a pedophile, as a criminal, as a thug. and it's clearly a bit of propaganda to insult islam. >> okay. has the film been removed from a lot of web sites? >> well, it has. google which owns youtube has blocked it in much of the arabic world. it's still obviously available in america. there is a law called the first amendment that prevents them from doing so. but there has been an effort to stop it from being seen in
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places where it might cause some of the violence that we've already had. >> i'm also just looking here at an e-mail, a german nationalist group is trying to show this film in full in berlin film, 14-minute trailer whatever you want to call it. how did this get attention in the first place? how did all of this start? >> right. you have to understand that this appears to be part of an effort by a group of koptic christians, a minority group in egypt that's quite persecuted. they're american allies here have promoted and produced this film. basseley nakoula is a producer but he has a number of allies in the koptic community. this is not from the koptic church. they have rejected and criticized it. but the koptic christians who put this together clearly wanted to make a statement about islam in egypt.
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and to attack essentially the muslim brotherhood which is now controlling and running egypt. >> so paul, can anyone be prosecuted for inciting this, or is this just exercising free speech? >> well, in america it's exercising free speech. as much as we don't like it, and it's been widely condemned across this country, there's nothing anybody can do to stop it. nakoula, on the other hand as you've reported might actually be going to jail for violation of probation but that's a completely separate issue. he had to use a computer to promote this, to produce it, to in many ways put this all together. and that may have violated his probation terms for a bank fraud conviction in 2010. >> okay. paul fahri, many thanks for getting to all the details for us. appreciate it. >> thank you. our coverage of the unrest continues on our web site. it includes a slide show of how it all unfolded. it's there on nbcnews.com for
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you. so let's take a look now at what my colleague craig melon has coming up at the top of the hour, how are you, craig? >> hello, alex. we're going to check in with our nbc teams who are on the campaign trail. we will go live to florida, live to boston as well. we will also go to cairo to get the very latest on those violent clashes in the middle east that you've been talking about. and a lot of developments this weekend when it comes to big labor and its future in the democratic party. plus today marks a very special anniversary in the world of political history. something happened this time in 2008 that changed the course of political history. we will tell you about that as well. all that and the very latest campaign news in our next three hours. >> three hours. you got a lot of energy. did you have some coffee? >> a lot of coffee. we'll see how long it lasts. >> i want a cup of that. thank you very much. new today, the scandal is spreading over the topless photographs of the duchess of cambridge, kate middleton, as the royal couple travels in
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asia, the royal family has begun legal action against a french magazine which published those photographs of prince william's wife. now the photos appear to be spreading. nbc reporter is in london for us. duncan, what's the latest on all this? >> reporter: well, they are spreading as you say. today they've appeared in an irish tabloid. the editor saying he wouldn't treat the duchess of cambridge any differently to another worldwide celebrity. so they reprinted the pictures there in ireland. that's brought an angry response from st. james palace. another angry response, this time they say there's no motivation for this action other than greed. we already know that an italian magazine plans to run a 26-page special of the pictures next week. and interestingly, alex, that italian magazine is owned by the same company that published the pictures in france yesterday. it's called montedori and it's
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owned by the burlesconi family. sylvia burlesconi. while all that is happening in europe, the royal couple are trying as best they can to get on with their royal tour in southeast asia. today they're in borneo. we're seeing pictures of them looking relaxed and happy, trying not to let it get to them. we know from all the statements yesterday that they are angry. alex? >> i'll bet they are. okay, duncan, thank you for the update on all this mess. next up with the big three, the back and forth battle over who said what and when about the overseas upheaval. will it make any difference to voters? plus the one key advantage mitt romney had in the polls until now. coming up on "weekends with alex witt." copd makes it hard to breathe,
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here's live pictures right now of chicago's union park. the two sides have what is being called a framework for their agreement after five days of picketing and negotiations. but union leaders warn that the walkout is not over until they see the final offer in writing today. chicago teachers strike is the first in 25 years. it is time for the big three in today's topics, missteps and two-steps. crunch time? and best week worst week. going to bring in my big three panel now. editor of citizen politics, contributor for "newsweek" and the daily beast, republican strategist and msnbc contributor and strategist morris reid. >> susan, i'm going to reach out to you first. you are a republican consultant. so i need you to tell us what you would do while the mitt romney camp says it did not make a misstep on libya, that is not what is the prevailing perception here. how big a problem is this and what can he do now about it? >> well, i think if anything the
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biggest problem is that it's gotten him off his message again of the economy. i understand why they said they had to come out quickly. but in fact they did come out too quickly and they didn't want to look like they were backtracking so they doubled down. i understand strategy. but again, he probably just came out too early. that's not to say that president obama handled it that well when he basically came out and surprised everybody when he said that egypt is no longer considered an ally. that had a lot of people scratching their heads, too. so i think both sides kind of stepped into it a little bit this week. >> some say it might have been a strategic statement that egypt is not an ally or an enemy. some say it's an honest statement he spoke from the heart. they had to clarify calling egypt a long-standing and close partner. do you perceive these events could become a political problem at some point ahead of november? >> first and foremost, this is the trickiness of foreign policy
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when you're a candidate. you step into things that you're not necessarily want to step into. you have to leave these type of things, particularly when there's bloodshed and american violence to the white house and any administration. but the administration did have a mistake in some of the comments they made. they moved probably too quickly. this whole middle east thing is a political football given the situation going on with israel. in the way that the prime minister is handling things. so this is a quagmire for all around. this is not necessarily something that we want to take lightly. we want to be very sure footed. it is a powder keg right now. but politics should be the last thing we're thinking about when americans are dying on foreign soil. >> okay. patricia, any conventional wisdom out there on who's winning at all in this sudden introduction of foreign policy into the presidential race, who stands to gain beyond this week on this topic? >> yes, well, i think both of the other guests have said this was not a good week really forrite of these candidates. for the president there are just some real substantive questions
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that have arisen. what about the security at the consulate ate. the questions about his overall middle east policy have been put to the politics. when you're talking about true politics, i think mitt romney had a much worse week than the president. the president is wrestling with geopolitics. mitt romney came out too soon, he came out with the wrong tone. he is not getting the intelligence briefings so he doesn't look like he even knows what he is talking about. and he by the way was criticized by a number of people in his own party for doing that. so i think when you look at this as a test of leadership who was more sure-footed, who looked like they could be a leader in the future, i think barack obama had a better week. mitt romney really struggled. now he is backtracking a little bit on what he said, changing his tone and again trying to get back to his topic on the economy where he feels like he's stronger. >> but also this is the second time he's really had a foreign policy blunder. so as a candidate this is where it's very tricky as a candidate to really get into foreign policy when elections are really about domestic issues.
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>> okay. susan i'm going to move onto the next topic with you. it is crunch time. another new poll out today show be president obama pulling ahead of mitt romney on the economy. the "new york times" cbs poll has president obama with a one-point lead on that issue. when that issue slips away from mitt romney, what is left? do you get any sense maybe panic may be a strong word, that was suggested earlier. but inside the romney campaign, concern? >> it's not panic. i think we saw at the very beginning of the week coming from a lot of conservatives out there saying he needs to stay on message. he needs to focus on the economy. he's got to say what he's going to do about it and why he is the better choice. so once he stays on message he will get better. we've seen him go up and down in the polls before on this. but again he's been knocked off his message. you also did have a positive bump for president obama coming out of the conventions which will probably dissipate in the upcoming weeks. >> and those are something -- those bumps i want to talk with you about, patricia. from the new nbc news "wall
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street journal" marist battle ground poll where the president is leading in florida, in ohio, in virginia. are republicans as a whole concerned about this? are they already thinking that romney needs sort of a hail mary pass during the debates? >> they're concerned. listen, these are three states that romney absolutely must win two of them. there's no way that he's going to be able to win the presidency without two of these three states. and they are so important. and barack obama has been able to not only open up a lead but also as you were saying to open up a lead or even at least come even with mitt romney on the question of who's best at handling the economy. that's the number that the republicans really need to hold onto. so there's great concern among republicans. at the same time, democrats and the obama campaign know that they are maybe closing the door but the door's not closed when you look further into these holes. nearly 60% of people and those polls say that the country is going in the wrong direction. so how can you be the leader of the country and it's going in the wrong direction and you can't expect to just waltz on through to november.
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so there's a lot for the obama campaign to like in these polls but there's also some red flags. >> go ahead, morris. >> there's a lot of election to go so we don't need to be talking about closing or opening doors. i think that the reason that you see the numbers moving in the right direction for us as it relates to mitt romney is he's trying to talk about the economy without giving people details. so that's really where people want to say is you're telling us it's going to be better. what exactly are you going to do? we need to be compare and contrast. we don't want to just trust you on what you're going to do. that's why you see the numbers moving and moving in the right direction. but there's a lot of election left to go here. so we can't -- >> we are. susan, is that where you expect to s to see details from his economic plan? why isn't he giving us details to keep on the economic message track? >> i think he's trying to decide what kind of campaign is he running? a mandate on the obama administration or about choice? he's really got to connect to one. we're going to have three debates coming up.
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>> isn't it late to be deciding that, though? >> if you're running a campaign he's been running for two years now. he should know what he's going to do for his economic plan by now. >> i'm not defending it. what i'm saying is that when you decide how to run your campaign campaign, either you're going to stay on the mandate or offer choice. i think they're moving towards -- excuse me. can i just finish, please? going forward, it looks like he's going to end up having to give these choices. he'll have to do it during the debate. and that's the way he'll win. this won't simply be a mandate, although there are two other numbers coming out and those are the unemployment numbers and those will be very significant. >> but there are also people already voting in some of these early states, it might be too late. >> well, we'll see. coming up next, what we'll see is the big three's best and worst week awards. although i do think patricia may have already heard from on you that. to compete on the global stage. what we need are people prepared for the careers of our new economy. by 2025 we could have 20 million jobs
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we're back with the big
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three. time for this week's best and worst. let's bring back in patricia, susan and morris. >> the best goes to linda mcmahon who now has moved from a leaning democrat report in the cook political report to a toss up, which is really significant because i think the democrats never thought for a moment they were going to lose that seat. and she's putting a lot of money in and she's going to force resources to be diverted to that race. so she really is doing quite a good job whether or not you agree with her campaign tactics or not. >> and for anyone who doesn't know, running for the seat in connecticut, wwe compakocompany co-chair with her husband. >> and the loser is mitt romney. this was not a good week for him. >> how about you, patricia? >> i have an up conventional
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pick for best. i'm giving to todd ekin who despite being totally ostracized by his party and by the country is beating claire mccaskill in a number of polls which i find totally shocking. looks like he's not going anywhere. and for the worst, i'm giving it to congress. they worked four day this is week, three days next week and then giving themselves another vacation up november. and i think we all want to know where do we sign up for that schedule. >> and we have so many things that need to be dealt with that really in that small window between november and the holiday break, come on. anyway, anyway -- >> and leaving without dealing with the fiscal cliff. >> and you did not give us a preview of your best and worst. so good for you. >> surprise. >> how about you, morris? >> i'm not going to pile on mitt romney, but he did did have a bad foreign policy week. so i won't beat up on him particularly because it's a real
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serious issue when americans are dying. but for the week, i thought the best was the nfl actually. rg3 and all the great things. really people said why can tu pick the nfl. in the swing states when the nfl teams are doing well, more people want to get out and to things and i think that will bode fwoel renwell for register. so as long as the nfl continues to do well, i think it bodes well for barack obama's chances. >> come on, that is a stretch. you just want to talk about the nfl. but i'll give you props for creativity there. and your worst? >> go for the browns. >> oh, no. you and nick. well, your worst week one more time? >> i don't want to pile on mitt romney. he had a bad foreign policy week. but when it comes to americans dying, to need to pile up, but it was a bad week for him. >> all right, thank you very much. love the discussion. appreciate that. that's a wrap, everyone, of
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weekend with alex witt. i'll look for you right back here tomorrow. but my colleague craig melvin continuing our coverage just after the break. begin. tomato, obviously. haha. there's more than that though, there's a kick to it. wahlalalalallala! smooth, but crisp. it's kind of like drinking a food that's a drink, or a drink that's a food, woooooh! [ male announcer ] taste it and describe the indescribable. could've had a v8.
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